Florida House Passes Bill to Slash Licensing Red Tape

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · January 15, 2018

Late Friday, the Florida House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of HB 15, a bill that would ease or outright eliminate around a dozen occupational licenses. A recent study by the Institute for Justice, License to Work, found that Florida has the “fifth most burdensome licensing laws.” On average, a license for low- or moderate-income occupations requires completing 693 days of training or experience, passing an exam and paying $318 in fees.

“Occupational licensing is one of the biggest barriers stopping Floridians from finding work,” said Justin Pearson, managing attorney of the Institute for Justice Florida Office. “This vote is a welcome first step to paring back many arbitrary, onerous and just downright pointless regulations that infringe on the right to earn an honest living.”

HB 15 would help ease those burdens. If enacted, the bill would:

  • Cut in half the number of hours needed to become a barber, from 1,200 to 600 hours;
  • Exempt body wrapping, hair wrapping, applying makeup and adding nail polish from the state’s cosmetologist license;
  • Expand the definition of hair braiding to cover hair extensions and wefts—two very common practices among braiders—and repeals the state’s specialty braiding license;
  • Reduce the required hours to register as a nail specialist (who can perform manicures and pedicures), from 240 hours to 150 hours training;
  • Cut the mandated hours to register as a face specialist (who can perform facials), from 260 to 165 hours training;
  • Lower training requirements for full specialist, who can work as a nail or face specialist, from 500 to 300 hours training;
  • Eliminate requirement that yacht brokers have a license for each branch office, and now will require only one license;
  • Repeal the license for geologists; and
  • Repeal licensing requirements for boxing timekeepers and announcers.

Nationwide, calls to reform America’s sclerotic licensing laws have come from a strikingly diverse chorus, including the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama Administration, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.